What is Truth?

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Ceisiwr
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What is Truth?

Post by Ceisiwr » Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:48 am

Greetings

Ive just started a course in philosophy to get myself back into uni, one of the topics covered was truth. When discussing it i realised that as Buddhists we tend to talk a lot about Truth without ever actually defining what truth is

So how do you define truth? Do you take a Realist stance or an Anti-Realist Stance? Or do you go for the pragmatic approach to truth (that which works is true)? Or do you take another view?



Myself, i lean towards the pragmatist philosophy



interested to hear your thoughts

metta
“Lust is a maker of signs. Aversion is a maker of signs. Delusion is a maker of signs.” MN 43

"Rooted in desire, friends, are all phenomena; originating in attention, are all phenomena”
— A. v. 106

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Re: What is Truth?

Post by DNS » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:09 am

conventional truth (Sammuti Sacca)
ultimate truth (Paramattha Sacca)

Anatta is ultimate truth, when "I" talk about it, the I refers to conventional truth.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: What is Truth?

Post by Ceisiwr » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:21 am

TheDhamma wrote:conventional truth (Sammuti Sacca)
ultimate truth (Paramattha Sacca)

Anatta is ultimate truth, when "I" talk about it, the I refers to conventional truth.



But what do you mean by Truth, do you take it as a realist would via the correspondence theory of truth? Or are you taking the Anti-Realist stance, something which is impied via the conventional truth statement?


If you say that "I" is a conventional truth and anatta is ultimate truth doesnt that mean that conventional truth isnt really truth at all? (unless you do take the Anti-Realist stance)




Can anatta be said to be true because it works (and so is pragmatic view of truth)?


metta
“Lust is a maker of signs. Aversion is a maker of signs. Delusion is a maker of signs.” MN 43

"Rooted in desire, friends, are all phenomena; originating in attention, are all phenomena”
— A. v. 106

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Jechbi
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Re: What is Truth?

Post by Jechbi » Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:04 am

clw_uk wrote:... as Buddhists we tend to talk a lot about Truth without ever actually defining what truth is
dukkha
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: What is Truth?

Post by Ceisiwr » Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:13 am

Jechbi wrote:
clw_uk wrote:... as Buddhists we tend to talk a lot about Truth without ever actually defining what truth is
dukkha


But is dukkha realist or anti-realist? Is the statement "dukkha is truth" ultimately true or false or is it dependent on what is agreed upon? (so realist v anti-realist)


for example

"the earth is the centre of the universe"

a realist would say that it is either true or false that the earth is the centre of the universe

or

"God exist"

it is either true or false that God exist's, regardless of if we know the answer

An anti-realist would say that the truth or falsity of the statements is dependent on what is agreed upon by groups, so for example:

"God exists"

for an anti-realist this statement is true to catholics (a group that agrees upon it) but false to atheists (a group that agrees to disagree about the statement)


In moral terms

"infanticide is wrong"

Realist - It is either true or false that infanticide is wrong (even if we do not currently know)

Anti-Realist - infanticide is wrong is true to a group that agrees that it is wrong but false to a group that says it isnt wrong (spartans could be an example)


Pragmatist's take a slightly different approach - "that which works is true" so for example, according to pragmatism, the fact that a bridge functions establishes the truth of the principles behind its construction

metta
“Lust is a maker of signs. Aversion is a maker of signs. Delusion is a maker of signs.” MN 43

"Rooted in desire, friends, are all phenomena; originating in attention, are all phenomena”
— A. v. 106

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Ceisiwr
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Re: What is Truth?

Post by Ceisiwr » Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:29 am

So in realtion to the above


"There is dukkha"


Is this statement:

either true or false (even if we dont currently know) = Realism

True to those who agree its true but false to those who disagree = Anti-Realism?

True if it it is practical/works = Pragmatism


metta
“Lust is a maker of signs. Aversion is a maker of signs. Delusion is a maker of signs.” MN 43

"Rooted in desire, friends, are all phenomena; originating in attention, are all phenomena”
— A. v. 106

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Re: What is Truth?

Post by DNS » Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:30 am

clw_uk wrote: If you say that "I" is a conventional truth and anatta is ultimate truth doesnt that mean that conventional truth isnt really truth at all? (unless you do take the Anti-Realist stance)
Can anatta be said to be true because it works (and so is pragmatic view of truth)?
In terms of Western philosophy, I suppose the Buddhist conventional/ultimate truths might be called anti-realist. This is because there is no intrinsic value or meaning in things, there is anatta. But there are ultimate truths such as anicca, anatta, dukkha, so full relativism does not fit either.

Perhaps the Dhamma is in the middle. :tongue: Or perhaps it is both realist and anti-realist?

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Ceisiwr
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Re: What is Truth?

Post by Ceisiwr » Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:36 am

In terms of Western philosophy, I suppose the Buddhist conventional/ultimate truths might be called anti-realist. This is because there is no intrinsic value or meaning in things, there is anatta. But there are ultimate truths such as anicca, anatta, dukkha, so full relativism does not fit either.

Perhaps the Dhamma is in the middle. Or perhaps it is both realist and anti-realist?

Lol its difficult isnt it. What im trying to do is compare Buddhist philosophy and Western philosophy (as well as focus on what truth is since this is important) and see where they overlap, what they can learn from each other and maybe even enhance each other. I see both as great human achievements and love both



Problem with taking anti-realism is that it does go against Kamma since truth is dependent on what is agreed upon via group consensus, thus there are no ultimates. Yet there is anti-realism in Buddhist philosohpy via the two truths doctrine, which seems to be a paradox

You could say that the two truths doctine is realist but this doesnt make sense since in realism there is only one truth not two. "The earth is flat" is either true or false not true and false at the same time


metta
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
“Lust is a maker of signs. Aversion is a maker of signs. Delusion is a maker of signs.” MN 43

"Rooted in desire, friends, are all phenomena; originating in attention, are all phenomena”
— A. v. 106

kannada
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Re: What is Truth?

Post by kannada » Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:40 am

Hi folks...

The truths of the 'raft' - ultimately to be abandoned, are noble truths, not ultimate truths. Other than this there are no truths in Buddhism, for all explanations of a dream - whilst dreaming - are part of the dream.

The dream from which Buddha Awakened contains only dream 'truths'...

Regards

k
Just a view - nothing more...

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Ceisiwr
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Re: What is Truth?

Post by Ceisiwr » Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:42 am

kannada wrote:Hi folks...

The truths of the 'raft' - ultimately to be abandoned, are noble truths, not ultimate truths. Other than this there are no truths in Buddhism, for all explanations of a dream - whilst dreaming - are part of the dream.

The dream from which Buddha Awakened contains only dream 'truths'...

Regards

k


Do you see this as Anti-Realism then?

To me the raft is pragmatism in the sense that its true since it works and anti-realist since its to be abandoned and so not ultimate truth, yet doesnt this go against kamma which is realist since the statement "infanticide is ok" is ultimately wrong according to traditional buddhist ethical teaching. There seems to be a paradox

metta
“Lust is a maker of signs. Aversion is a maker of signs. Delusion is a maker of signs.” MN 43

"Rooted in desire, friends, are all phenomena; originating in attention, are all phenomena”
— A. v. 106

kannada
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Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:35 am

Re: What is Truth?

Post by kannada » Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:00 am

Hi clw,

The general dilemma is that once a postulate 'x' has been asserted then it cannot be denied.

Is 'x' real? contains no room for denial. It must be real for it has been asserted - as 'x' - and its 'reality' lies fully within its assertion.

The purest element of the Buddhist perspective is neither one of denial, or assertion.

It cannot be seen as realist for it does not assert. It cannot be seen as anti-realist because it does not deny, therefore the dilemma does not arise.

Best wishes

k
Just a view - nothing more...

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Ceisiwr
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Re: What is Truth?

Post by Ceisiwr » Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:04 am

Hey


The general dilemma is that once a postulate 'x' has been asserted then it cannot be denied.

Is 'x' real? contains no room for denial. It must be real for it has been asserted - as 'x' - and its 'reality' lies fully within its assertion.

The earth is flat = X is flat but this can (and has been) denied

Assertation doesnt mean truth. I can assert that I am Apollo but this doenst mean it cant be denied



The purest element of the Buddhist perspective is neither one of denial, or assertion.
Does Buddhadhamma not offer any truths at all then?
It cannot be seen as realist for it does not assert. It cannot be seen as anti-realist because it does not deny, therefore the dilemma does not arise.
Anti-realism doesnt really deny it just has a different take on what constitutes truth


metta
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
“Lust is a maker of signs. Aversion is a maker of signs. Delusion is a maker of signs.” MN 43

"Rooted in desire, friends, are all phenomena; originating in attention, are all phenomena”
— A. v. 106

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Re: What is Truth?

Post by BlackBird » Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:05 am

To me, isms could not be further from the truth.

:alien:
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Ceisiwr
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Re: What is Truth?

Post by Ceisiwr » Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:07 am

BlackBird wrote:To me, isms could not be further from the truth.

:alien:
Jack

Like Buddhism :jumping:



also is this realist or anti-realist?
“Lust is a maker of signs. Aversion is a maker of signs. Delusion is a maker of signs.” MN 43

"Rooted in desire, friends, are all phenomena; originating in attention, are all phenomena”
— A. v. 106

kannada
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Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:35 am

Re: What is Truth?

Post by kannada » Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:17 am

The earth is flat = X is flat

This can be affirmed or denied = Realism
It may well be that the earth is flat, round or pointy however these are not the 'purest element of Buddhist perspective' which is a 'seeing-as-is'. The common sense (common to the senses) view is based on perspective and touted as 'real'.
Does Buddhadhamma not offer any truths at all then?
As above, noble truths, not ultimate truths.
Anti-realism doesnt really deny it just has a different take on what constitutes truth
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-realism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Just a view - nothing more...

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